Audio: A Right-Brained Medium

RightBrainedMediumOur Mysterious Brain

Decades ago, neuroscience discovered our brain’s two hemispheres perform different functions: our Left Brain takes responsibility for logical, rational thinking—lists, organization, facts and details—while our Right Brain processes the creative tasks—visual thought, creativity, music and imagination. We can use this divided-brain scenario as a good template for discussion of effective audio-only advertising.

All too many times, clients want us to use media such as radio to “run down the list” of product attributes—you know—copy points, facts, mandatories. While this makes for a very satisfying script for the client to approve, it’s typically meaningless to the listener. The reason?


Typically, listeners are passive. They’re not hanging on to every word of a radio spot, nor are they working hard to remember the copy points we all sweat to cram into the 15 or 30 or 60 seconds we’re constrained to. With audio like this, we’re expecting the listener to digest multiple copy points as if they were processing with their Left Brain. But they’re not. When is the last time you remembered a whole list of important things you heard in a radio spot?

Are You Not Entertained?

Now, do you recall a funny, entertaining radio spot? One that you could practically see? The most effective, memorable audio is that which appeals to a listener’s Right Brain. Stories, big concepts and entertaining, picturesque scenarios are what grabs a listener and pulls them in. Now you can tell them that one important thing your client wants them to know, and they’ll be listening. Sound that paints a picture, engages the listener, and focuses on one big idea is sound that works.

A Change of Briefs

Perhaps we should re-think creative briefs that allow for more than one major copy point in audio-only advertising. We should teach account people to communicate to clients that quantity destroys quality, not to mention effectiveness. If your client has three major things that they need the listener to remember, then you have an opportunity to create a themed campaign that can encompass three individual spots. This lemons-into-lemonade approach allows for the big idea to carry the copy points. And it’s the big idea that appeals to our Right Brain.

Themed campaigns have the added benefit of longer shelf life for a concept. If written properly, one spot will lead into the next, and inspire listeners to actually want to hear the next one!

People make buying decisions based on emotion. They only use facts to justify the decision they made. Remembering that audio is processed in the right hemisphere is a good way to frame your creative for success.

If you need help converting left-brained creative briefs into right-brained concepts, call us. We’ve been doing this with clients all over the nation for a long time.